Shane Brooks of Waco, TX visits Freedom Plaza contingent of Occupy DC Shortly after our march back to Freedom Plaza from Capitol Hill where we protested at a meeting of the Super Committee, Shane Brooks of Waco, Texas ducked under the tarp of the media tent to tell us about his journey from the Tea Party---which he said the GOP co opted--- to the Coffee Party, which he said is becoming a real trans-partisan movement. “Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Christians, Atheists--it doesn’t matter. We’re all Americans,” said Brooks.

The Occupy movement seems more inclusive and playful and less angry and less fear-based than the Tea Party movement. But both movements invoke the Constitution. We have at Freedom Plaza in DC a bus-sized banner with the image of the Preamble where the operative phrase We the People stands out as it does on the parchment of the original document.

On our way back from protesting the Super Committee, we made good use of the lunch hour crowds and our police escort by stopping at an intersection on Pennsylvania Avenue. After 2 or 3 call-and-response mike checks, about 60 of us shouted the words of the First Amendment in unison, as we read it from a wall that leaned toward the street below, suspended post-modernly from the rest of the Newseum Building.

The Coffee Party is having a big rally in DC this weekend, including prominent progressives such as Thom Hartmann as well as folk such as Brooks who will be there to talk about trans-partisanship.

Brooks , who writes at, said progressives and conservatives should communicate with each other to find common ground, instead of allowing the mainstream media to divide and conquer us by controlling our nation’s political and historical narrative.

Tighe Barry of Code Pink

Tighe Barry of Code Pink liked what Brooks had to say.

“When they were passing the TARP back in 2008, we were saying to the Tea Party, ‘we’re with you on this.’ But there was not one Tea Party person and not one person of any other persuasion in front of the Capitol Building, except for a bunch of us,” Barry said.

Code Pink protested the bailout in the streets and in hearings because--as has been the case with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan---it took money away from education and other social investments, said Joan Stallard who works with the anti-war organization.

Barry and Brooks agreed that Dick Army and the Koch brothers took control of the Tea Party. Brooks said he doesn’t fault his “countrymen on the right.”

“It’s really hard to combat the narrative that’s controlled by billionaires paying millionaires to convince you it’s all poor people’s fault.” Brooks said.

Barry said Democrats offered no unified message as an alternative to what emerged as the Tea Party became co opted.

And Brooks said, “the Democrats are part of the establishment too. They had no interest in reaching out and bridging that divide…It’s a one-party system masquerading as a two-party system.”

Brooks’ views have changed over time, but he hasn’t cut all of his conservative ties.

“I’m also doing militia outreach in Texas with the Three Percenters . I started going to their survival training. I was heavily involved. I was brainwashed at one point too… I’ve camped with them over weekends and sat down to talk with them and ask them, ‘do think Republicans have exclusivity over the Constitution or over great founding quotes or over the Bill of Rights or the Declaration of Independence?’”